This is adding to a couple of other threads surrounding this topic about the Kiwi Experience and Magic bus.
My question is, is there some way I can get hold of the accomodation used by these companies so I can research the hostels in advance?
Also I'm looking at two tours offered by Magic. They both do the same route around the South Island but in the North one is $150 (!)cheaper, as it misses out Waitomo and Hamilton. I'm thinking of taking the cheaper one and just leaving the coach and gettin to Waitomo on my own, as everyone raves about it, and then joining a later bus a few days later. What do people think? Will this save me money?
Thanks loads in advance. x
You will have lots of fun in NZ - and yes whatever you do make sure you get to Waitomo and do the Black Water Caving.
Here are the hostels i stayed in which are SOME OF the ones that the Kiwi Bus recommends.
Auckland - Auckland Central Backpacker (.acb.co.nz)
Whitianga - Buffalo Sails and Buffalo (?)(cute little place)
Rotorua - Hot Rocks Hostel - (great !)
Waitiomo - Kiwi Paka - lovely cabins
Taupo - Central Backpackers (good location - basic accom & nice staff)
Wellington - YHA Downtown Huge - ok location - nice rooms.
Hope this helps - feel free to ask if you have any other questions. I had an awesome time on the North Island. Don't forget to maybe wait til you get there if you're gonna buy Kiwi Pass as lots of people sell them in the ACB in Auckland... if thats where you are starting from?
sorry - the hostel in Taupo was called Go Global... had a few too many beers there and forgot - hehe.
Here's the places Kiwi were using when I was there. They change occasionally but should pretty much still be the same:
Auckland - n/a
Whitianga - Buffalo Peaks
Rotorua - Hot Rock Backpackers
Waitomo - Kiwi Paka
Taupo - Go Global/Burke's Lodge
River Valley - River Valley Lodge
Wellington - Base Backpackers
Nelson - book yourself (but the driver will ring round to find you somewhere with a vacancy if you don't bother)
Westport - can't remember
Mahinapua - Mahinapua Hotel
Franz Josef - Black Sheep
Wanaka - Wanaka Hotel
Queenstown - wherever they can find space (advisable to book yourself a few days in advance if you want to stay at a particular hostel)
Christchurch - book yourself (quite often all hostels are booked up a couple of days in advance so it's essential to pre-book)
Your plan for Waitomo sounds good to me (not just for financial reasons). I would recommend leaving the bus at some point in any case, so that you get to see another side to backpacking in NZ.